Storms provide educational opportunity

Storms provide educational opportunity
Kays Hall (Source: KAIT-TV)
Kays Hall (Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Dean Street in front of Kays Hall looked like a river Wednesday night. Thursday the sun came out, the road dried up and the water was gone.

However, a substantial amount of the storm water seeped into the front of the building.

"Just like in various neighborhoods around Jonesboro and Craighead County and Northeast Arkansas, there are low spots,"  Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at A-State Bill Smith said. "When the rain comes too fast to drain off it simply can't escape. And on our campus this and a couple of other areas are like that. We've had some of our facilities management folks out this morning working in other lobbies, not just this one. A couple of other buildings on campus that have a slope running towards their front door or some other catchment that allows water to linger. So, we've had to be running the water vacuums in a couple of places but we have no substantial damage. There's no need to bring in any extra folks to handle the task. This was as routine as an extreme rain event could be."

Smith said what was most surprising was a piece of video found online.

"We probably had about two steps worth of water in here,"  Smith said. "But as everyone's seen the video that has gone viral nationwide, the student that was splashing his way back and forth kind of made it appear to be much deeper than it was."

That video is of a student pretending to swim in the water.

Smith said his greatest cause for concern was the students' safety.

He said they're taking this incident and turning it into an opportunity to educate their students about safety.

"In a space like this you have electrical lines that if they go under water, your stepping into water that could be live," Smith said. "And that's a case with any storm. It could be a power line that's gone down and that electricity carries along in the water that's along the ground."

But that's not the only concern.

"Being in that storm runoff water can be fairly dangerous," Smith said. "Because you really don't know what's in the water. Where is that water runoff from? Did it run through a sewer by any chance? Has it run through a storm drain that has had a lot of mold and bacteria building up in it as it just grows in between storms and that's now washed out and is what you're in? You have to worry about that there will be some chemicals in there and some highly antibiotic resistant microbes in there. You've seen those stories about people that have gotten an infection that has turned into something very dramatic because they had been in storm water or runoff water or basically dirty water."

Smith said there was no damage to Kays Hall or any other building on campus that had water in it.

He said their main concern is the safety and education of their students, whom they are now making aware of the dangers to being in this kind of water.

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